By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The National Museum of Jewish American History held its first naturalization ceremony today.
Forty-seven people, representing 29 countries, stood to take the oath of citizenship, renouncing allegiance to their former homelands, embracing America as their own.
“I didn’t think I would get that emotional, but I got pretty emotional in there,” said Thoeun Ky (below), who immigrated to the US from Cambodia as a toddler in 1985.
And now, after 28 years of fingerprints, background checks, paperwork, and waiting, he will be able to take part in the most treasured right of citizenship for the first time, at age 30.
“My main reason to become a citizen was to get the right to vote,” he tells KYW Newsradio.
Sopa Mguy (top photo) came here at age three and has been waiting 27 years to take the oath. She says she always felt in limbo — until today.
“I was born in Thailand,” she explains, “but I’m not really Thai. Then I wasn’t an American citizen (until today), so I’m really happy.”
She says it was worth the wait.